Costa Rican and U.S. experts are trying to come up with a count for the monkeys at CorcovadoNational Park that died between September and November 2005 for reasons still under investigation, the daily Al Día reported. It is believed as many as 40% of the Southern Zone park’s monkey population may have died.
Although environmental authorities previously established that no bacteria or viruses that could have caused the deaths showed up on lab tests of blood samples taken from the dead wildlife (TT, Feb. 17), Costa Rican scientists Eduardo Carrillo and Grace Wong this week visited the national park for more blood samples.
“This is to see if the living monkeys could be sick. It is said that the massive death in 2005 was climate-related, but an epidemic has not been ruled out,”Miguel Madrigal, park conservation manager, told Al Día.
Authorities speculated that the animals were victims of an unusually strong rainy season that destroyed the fruit they feed on and caused them to starve to death (TT, Dec. 9, 2005).
Madrigal said the new lab results could be ready within two weeks.
In the meantime, U.S. researchers are working on counting the dead animals in the park, Al Día reported.
Count results so far revealed that 40% of primates perished last year, 30% of which were spider monkeys and 10% white throated capuchins, squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys.
Their work has also revealed that most deaths took place in the sectors of La Llorona, San Pedrillo, Sirena and Carate, inside the park.